Reading reduces stress.

Just 6 minutes of reading a book reduces stress by 68%.

A study at the University of Sussex last year indicated that reading for even just six minutes reduced stress levels in study subjects by 68%. Reading was the most prefered method for reducing stress when compared to other typical stress reducing activities like listening to music or going for a walk. Losing yourself in a book causes all of your muscles, including the heart, to relax.

Listening to music reduced the levels by 61%, having a cup of tea or coffee lowered them by 54% and taking a walk by 42%. Playing video games brought them down by 21% from their highest level but still left the volunteers with heart rates above their starting point. Dr Lewis, cognitive neuropsychologist said: “Losing yourself in a book is the ultimate relaxation. This is particularly poignant in uncertain economic times when we are all craving a certain amount of escapism. It really doesn’t matter what book you read, by losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world and spend a while exploring the domain of the author’s imagination. This is more than merely a distraction but an active engaging of the imagination as the words on the printed page stimulate your creativity and cause you to enter what is essentially an altered state of consciousness.”

If you can’t get into a story in just six minutes to achieve relaxation? Make sure to keep a book with you at your work desk, on a trip or best on your iPod or iPhone. Just read a chapter while waiting for the kettle to boil or while waiting in a queue.

Soon librarians, like doctors will be prescribing a good book alongside exercise and a healthy diet.

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